October 18, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- People experiencing a divorce with minor children understand many of the struggles involved in determining acceptable child custody and property division agreements. The inherent losses in both categories can be emotionally challenging for both parties and leave lasting consequences. For some Oregon couples, the unusual circumstances can make the process even more complex.
Technology meets law
Technological advances may provide new opportunities never before possible but they also bring new complexities to situations that can already be complex to begin with. Couples with frozen embryos that divorce must make a determination about what will or should be done with the embryos.
Many states govern these assets as merely that, applying the laws for property division
to them. At Oregon Health Sciences University, the Embryology Laboratory Specimen Storage Agreement that would-be parents sign when embarking on their fertility treatment includes a clause that, in the event of a divorce, both parties must agree to the handling of the embryos unless a court order is issued that dictates the outcome.
A national question
A recent news article outlines cases around the country where the conventional thought of handling embryos as pure property is being questioned. Concerns related to child custody or child support
are being raised in many states.
In Kansas, the state itself is attempting to collect back child support from a man whose former wife had a child from an embryo after their divorce. The ex-wife had voluntarily released her rights to child support from her husband. However, since the woman accepted public assistance, the state government is seeking that money back, as is commonly done in more standard cases.
Fertility issues not likely to go away
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of fertility services is widespread. Specific data shows:
- A total of 7.4 million women nationwide between the ages of 15 and 44 have used some form of infertility service. That is almost 12 percent of the national female population.
- Six percent of married women between 15 and 44 are classified as infertile. That percentage translates to 1.5 million women.
- Nearly 11 percent of women in the same age range are either unable to become pregnant or successfully carry a baby to term. This group of 6.7 million women is comprised of both married and unmarried women.
If a woman not using birth control cannot become pregnant after a period of 12 months, she is considered infertile.
Legal advice is paramount
If you are in a divorce situation or contemplating a divorce and have been involved in fertility treatments with frozen embryos, you should work with a professional who is well-versed in this arena. There are a great many nuances that can arise in such a situation and the proper legal help can make a difference.
Article provided by DeBast, McFarland & Richardson, LLP
Visit us at www.dmr-law.com